Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Bridezilla, moi?


In today’s Sunday Times there’s an interesting article on how brides get so obsessed with their wedding day and all the minor details that go into making it special, that they often experience a sense of let-down when they get back from their honeymoons and discover that they are no longer the princess. In America, this is now described as a syndrome – post wedding depression (PWD) – and sad little non-princesses can receive counselling for their troubles.

People, but mostly women, become so wrapped up in the micro-details of their weddings (napkins matching the wedding favours, anyone?) that they forget that what they are doing is getting married, to a person, and what they need to focus on is being ready for that. Thomas and I nonchalantly went along to a couple of counselling sessions with the priest who was going to marry us (he insisted on it – the priest, that is). A lot of the churchy stuff we ignored, being non-practising, non-church going, Anglicans, but there were two things he said that, without ever agreeing to, we still stick to to this day. One is the adage ‘Never let the sun go down on your anger’ and the other is ‘Always tell each other before you make purchases over a certain amount’. Emotions and money. All wrapped up. Thanks, priest. He then nonchalantly sent someone else to marry us, but unlike him, we’ve stayed committed both to his advice and to the marriage.

Years on, I look back on my own big day and I have to confess I was a bit of a Bridezilla. I was lucky in that my wedding organiser (my mother) and I were of the same mind, so she very kindly got on with the details for me. The two people who shared my office were subjected to constant long-distance telephone calls about flowers, menus, choice of photographers and so on. Luckily for me, neither complained. I didn’t throw any tantrums about the details, well not many. There was just the little matter of one groomsman deciding he would wear a tux instead of a morning suit, and my making it clear that he would find himself a morning suit in downtown Harare, or be fired from the retinue.

But what did really freak me out, what turned me into Bridezilla’s mad little cousin, was PROXIMITY OF OTHER WEDDINGS TO MY OWN. One of my dearest friends got engaged shortly after me (sorry I mean us), but announced that her wedding date would be before ours. This I regarded as scene-stealing of the worst order, and I had a lot of Bridezillery moments around my family and my intended. I experienced extreme Schadenfreude when she could only get a church date three weeks after my wedding, but this eased when she asked me to be a bridesmaid.

But Bridezilleriness does not extend to brides only; it seems to go further than that. I’ve noticed now that the women around the bride can be even worse ‘Zillas than the person getting married. I’ve been to or heard about weddings where mothers-in-law, mothers, sisters, aunts and even grannies get in on the act, usually to upstage the bride herself. It’s as if weddings are a disease that only women get, and the whiff of madness spreads to all.

When my father remarried (a whole year after me, so it was allowed), my dear grandmother, who admittedly was approaching senility, refused point-blank to wear the lovely suit my aunt had picked out for her. Instead she came to the wedding in tracky-pants and a delightful Zimbabwe T-shirt. If I’m not wrong, her dog came too. She kept asking in a stage whisper ‘Which one’s the bride?’.

I did love my ‘special day’ and, I have to admit, adored being the centre of attention (oh yes, Thomas was too). It was very hard for me, three weeks later, to climb down from my pedestal and be a mere accessory to someone else’s glory. But now I know, thanks to the Sunday Times, that that painful severing from princesshood saved me from months of PWD. So I have to thank my friend – and you know who you are – for her random act of kindness.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

10 thoughts on “Bridezilla, moi?

  1. I can so identify with this. Our wedding preparations were fairly laid back; D and I handled almost everything ourselves, with little outside help. But I did have (slightly longer than) one moment of ‘Zilla-dom.

    My brother-in-law to be was planning to ask his girlfriend to marry him. He’d talked with us about an appropriate time to ask, in relation to our wedding – that is, not before and not while we were still on our honeymoon. Three weeks before OUR big day, we received a phone call saying they were engaged. For the next three weeks, all we heard about were their preparations for their wedding, in twelve months time.

    I’m still trying to hide the scars from the horns and tail I grew during those three weeks.

  2. Oooh those scars, they hurt, don’t they?

  3. Great post! Our wedding was pretty laid-back as well – we fit it in between semesters of S.’s graduate school, so we had to return to North Carolina almost immediately, which cut off at the pass any sort of post-wedding let down. And I married young, and not many of my friends were getting married. But I married in my home town, which is VERY small, and my ex-boyfriend was getting married the SAME DAY, and we spent an entire year battling for the best dj, the best reception hall, etc. We had our rehearsal dinners next door to one another and shared the reception hall space with a fake wall erected between us. And by the end of the night guests from his wedding were coming over to me, and vice versa…all, small towns!

  4. Thanks, Courtney. I’m loving that image of two competitve weddings gradually merging …

  5. Given my recent summer wedding tour, I can vouch for female family members making sure they were taken care of while the bride had to be patient and wait her turn. My role recently has been deflecting stress away from the bride and groom and, of course, making sure my dress was the prettiest! Next stop on the summer wedding tour… Hotlanta!

  6. My three best school friends married on consecutive weekends over the three weeks before my own wedding. So we were all pretty much weddinged-out by the time we got to mine. Actually I didn’t mind too much – we’d organised it quickly and I didn’t want a fuss. My poor friend who got married just recently wanted something really small and quiet and was worried for months beforehand that her mother-in-law was going to pull a big stunt on the day. She seems to be the kind of woman who can’t allow a family event to go past without creating a punch-up of some description. I think it all went off ok in the end, but the stress beforehand was appalling. There’s someone who should be handed a ‘Zilla crown and made to wear it!

  7. ‘Zillas: either we’ve been them or we know them. The fact is, what is this female madness over weddings?!

  8. I hated being the centre of attention at my wedding. I never had childhood dreams of white weddings. To be honest, I could have quite happily hauled myself up the aisle wearing a pair of tracky pants like your grandmother’s. I didn’t care about any of the details at all, which of course gave my mother free reign and she loved that. I remember being driven to the church in the wedding car and some old grannies on a bus piling across to the windows to stare at me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more embarrassed in my life. I thought I was going to burst into tears and had to hunch out of sight. How relieved I was when it was all over! Come to think of it, maybe I’m not normal?! You’ve given me a good idea for a post.

  9. Pingback: A Was Alarmed » Blog Archive » The Shrinking Bridelet

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